Addled

Somebody on FB is asking if we feel like we hold students to a higher standard than we were held to when we were students.

The author is probably heavily medicated.

I once took a course on Golden Age theater with a professor from Spain. I was an undergraduate student at McGill. He started the course with, “Well, obviously you’ve all read [a list of plays by the major Golden Age authors]. You probably read them more than once. This is why we won’t read them again in this course. Instead, we will talk about the history of reception of each play. Of course, if you aren’t very familiar with these plays, please leave the course now.”

Obviously, I hadn’t read any of these plays. I had started taking my first Spanish course exactly a year earlier. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Golden Age theater at that point.

So I went to the library, checked out all of the plays. In the original, not in translation. In the next week (it was one of those once-a-week 3-hour-long classes), I read all of the plays on the list. Slept 3 hours a day. If you are familiar with Calderón’s Life Is a Dream, you can understand what it’s like to read it with a year’s worth of Spanish under your belt. I had to read it three times in a row just to understand what the hell was happening. And this was before WordReference.com. It was paper dictionaries only, which I obviously couldn’t afford to buy.

Second class, the professor announced that we are also expected to be familiar with all the major critical debates on these plays. So I went back to the library.

Loved every second of it.

Got an A in the course.

So no, I don’t feel like I hold anybody to this kind of standard. Except for myself. I can’t sleep 3 hours a day any longer but this is still the kind of fanatic I am and I love it. And I’m deeply grateful to that professor for setting the bar forever so high for me.

I Blame Marx

I wrote 500 words yesterday. I don’t do drafts so it was a clean copy, the final version. I had to re-read half of damn Grundrisse to write it, which is no picnic.

Then I opened the computer today, and it was all gone. Even the copy of the file I emailed to myself was gone. I’m not going to go into the boring details of how it happened and how I fruitlessly tried to recover the file.

Long story short, I had to rewrite the whole thing. And I hate rewriting. The prospect of going back to the blasted Grundrisse did not appeal, so I chucked it out completely. And then I had to write today’s quota, too. In the meantime, I’m with Klara all day, so I’m writing while child-minding, so that’s intense.

I’m beat, and the kid is still refusing to go to sleep.

What’s been happening in the world, does anybody know? I’m completely out of it.